The COVID-19 pandemic caused the number of virtual meetings to skyrocket as teams everywhere try to collaborate more efficiently online.
While meetings have kept businesses running in the pandemic, back-to-back gatherings are incredibly disruptive. They interrupt employee workflows and productivity, and can, in some instances, contribute to extreme stress and burnout — all which impact a company’s bottom line.
This approach may allow employees to concentrate better on certain days but, in essence, it means workers are having to endure even more meetings at other points during the week.
With this in mind, we’ve taken a look at other ways employers can make meetings more productive and efficient and the tools HR can use to fulfil this.
Not only are we attending too many meetings; many of these meetings are actually unproductive.
This goes some way to in explaining the phenomenon of Zoom fatigue because: being engaged during endless Zoom calls is exhausting, but it’s also frustrating to feel like you just wasted hours that could have been spent working on something else.
Thankfully, there are some tools that can be used to stop meetings getting off track, becoming a waste of time, and causing burnout.
Both are focused on making meetings the best they can be for a business audience.
Also, GoToMeeting provides those who presented in the meeting with personalized feedback about their skills. This could go some way to help people realize when they go off-topic, helping them re-focus in the future.
Productivity over unnecessary meetings
Further to this, there is a need for companies to think about whether that meeting actually needed to happen at all. Did all of the people who attended actually need to be in that meeting?
To help tackle this, HR professionals should check out Harvard Business Review’s Meeting Cost Calculator.
Managers and teams can use this tool before they schedule a meeting to figure how much the businesses could be saving by reducing the number of meetings held in a day.
The calculation is done by using three sets of data – the length of the meeting, number of attendees, and their salaries. Ultimately, the cost calculator aims to remind companies that time is money.
Instead, employers should consider using non-meeting-based collaboration such as Slack.
More creative teams, should look into virtual whiteboard technologies that enable remote brainstorming such as Miro, which is used by a range of employers — including Skyscanner, Cisco, HR, and Deloitte — to drive efficiencies.
Have a clear post-meeting action plan
If you do decide to go ahead with the meeting, managers should finish off meetings with a clear action plan of what needs to happen next. This will make any follow up sessions more productive and will help everyone stay on track.
HR tech tools also have a role to play here. For example, automatic transcription platform Otter recently launched a capability that allows it to consensually join your Zoom meetings and take notes for you.
This will enable attendees – and hosts – to keep better track of what was said in meetings, as well as easily share notes or pre-transcribed recordings of the future action plan. In fact, Otter’s new offering automatically shares the notes with participants of the meetings, even if they did not actually attend.
Otter CEO and co-founder Sam Liang said: “As virtual meetings persist, we need a way to make them more productive and collaborative and to alleviate Zoom gloom.
“Now, through the power of artificial intelligence, you can send your Otter Assistant to meetings on your behalf so you can focus on what’s most relevant without worrying about missing anything.
“There has never been an easier way to share meeting content.”
Similarly, one of the features of Chicago-based HR tech startup Spot Meetings, which has just raised $5m in seed funding, is to listen in on calls — with the permission of the user, of course.
Participants can then tell a virtual assistant, called Spot, bits of the meetings they want access to, if they want it transcribed or written up, as well as whether they want those notes saved for follow-ups.
In addition, Spot Meetings enables participants to group their notes or transcriptions together in one place. This can then be saved in other collaborative workspaces and be automatically emailed to participants.
These are just a few ideas for how to break the cycle of meeting fatigue. Combine these techniques tools with mental wellbeing apps and regular breaks, and you are well on your way to happier, more engaged, productive employees.